November 4, 2006



... creating a new American Songbook

Susan WernerKen

he air was electric tonight in anticipation of Susan Werner's concert ... and she supercharged our audience with a mix of dynamic keyboard ballads and gospel variations, and guitar based solos on love and life. She brought our Ken "The Rocket" Korb on stage with his harmonicas to harmoniously accompany her on two moving songs ... and her clever repartee on Chicago etal kept us in stitches. This was an evening that will not be forgotten.

Susan Werner lessed with a great voice and great guitar and piano chops, the multi-talented Susan Werner has put it all together, charting new territory in style with original compositions in the American Songbook style. She's breathed new and brilliant life into the popular song tradition, one that many thought was a closed book. She combines a singer-songwriter's attention to detail, a cabaret chanteuse's sense of drama and a sardonic feminist's approach to romance and relationships.

  transcendant performer, Werner made her first public performances at age five in Iowa, playing guitar and singing in her church. At 11, she began playing piano and in high school, she played saxophone in jazz combos. In college she earned a Masters degree in classical voice and studied opera— until she began taking her guitar around to coffeehouses on the folk circuit in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City, reaching breakthrough success in the mid-90’s touring with countless luminaries including Joan Armatrading and Richard Thompson. Werner also appeared on the Peter, Paul & Mary Lifelines special seen nationally on PBS. Her 2002 release new non-fiction, received numerous accolades for its insightful social commentary and introspective stories.

er latest CD release, I Can't Be New, is Susan's original compositions in the American Songbook style. "This is a songwriter's record. I'd describe the aim of this project as Carole King's Tapestry meets Ella Fitzgerald's Cole Porter Songbook," Werner suggests. "I listened to Ella and a lot of Julie London when recording this thing. Julie London, especially, she could read down a ballad so simply and beautifully, you'd just fall over and die."

owever, Werner cautions, this isn't a record for jazz purists: "The purists want old songs done in a new way," Werner says. "These are all new songs done in an old way." And if standards have become the measure for all other songs, "It's my secret hope, and I'd be overjoyed," she adds, "if even one of these songs from the record becomes a standard."

usan’s performances are marked with a light-hearted diversity of styles from happy-go-lucky to naughty and steamy … festival audiences have roared their approval of her new anthem My Strange Nation, which examines the incongruities and divergences of modern America … an inspirational ballad for our times.

e told you that if you could only come to one live music show per decade, this is the one to be at.   It was.       (However, we do expect many more great shows this decade.)

Praises for her performances:

  • "The luster of her vocals, the tonal assurance of her pianism and the verbal acuity of her lyrics suggest that she may be the most promising triple-threat artist to have emerged ... "
      Chicago Tribune

  • "... delightfully crafty and concise tunes that place classic pop mood-making in a contemporary light."
      Boston Phoenix

  • "Susan Werner, a clever songwriter and an engaging performer, brings literacy and wit back to popular song."
      The New Yorker

  Susan Werner


      Link to Susan's web site:  

Susan's compelling ode to America, My Strange Nation, plays when you open her site

Opening for Susan Werner tonight were our featured open mike performers:

  • Ira Perlman   IraPerlman

  • Bob Steinberg   Bob Steinberg

  • Andy Romanoff   Andy Romanoff

  • Stacy Frank   Stacy Frank

  • Ken "The Rocket" Korb   Ken

  • Claude Margouleff   ClaudeMargouleff

  • Lora Kendall   Lora Kendall

  • Robin Powers   Robin Powers

  • Suzie & The Pips   Suzie & The Pips
    Susan Cohen, Mike Christian, and Gary Schoenberger

  • James O'Malley   James O'Malley

  • Ron Renninger   Ron Renninger

  • Our host this evening was Ira Perlman.

    If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...